This is the first in a series of posts about why God allows hard times and how He uses them.

“Why does God allow painful things to happen to His people? Doesn’t He love us?”

I’m sure you’ve heard those questions and others like them many times. You may have even asked those questions. I don’t have all the answers, but I do have some. I found them right in God’s Word. I want to spend the next couple of weeks dealing with these questions from a biblical perspective. Let’s see what the Bible has to say on this difficult issue.

Some Christian leaders teach that if a Christian is obedient and follows God as they should then no harm will befall them. They also say these faithful Christians will be materially and financially blessed. One problem with this teaching is that it can’t be supported with Scripture. Another problem is that when faithful Christians who believe this erroneous teaching do experience pain and difficulty their faith can be sorely shaken.

What would you say to:

  • Your selfless Christian friend who has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer?
  • Your prayer-warrior sister whose husband left her for another woman?
  • Your faithful neighbor who lost his job and can’t pay his mortgage?
  • Your child who loves Jesus that was called names at school because of her faith?

I could go on and so could you. But how do we help others – and how do we understand ourselves – when difficulty inevitably crashes in? First, we need to understand that difficulty in a Christian’s life does not take God by surprise. Let’s take a quick look at what the Bible says about pain, difficulty, and hardship for God’s people.

  • “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV).
  • “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:18-20, NIV).
  • “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12, NIV).
  • “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2, NIV).
  • “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while” (1 Peter 1:6, NIV).

These Scriptures and more clearly show us that trials and difficulties will come into the lives of God’s faithful people. But God does not leave us to struggle alone! In the next blog of this series we will see how God helps us in our troubles. Then we will consider how God specifically uses our trials. Stay tuned!

Have you ever asked “Why?” What have you been taught about trials in a Christian’s life?

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